I had a work trip of a lifetime to a little town called Festus, about 50 miles south of St. Louis. Festus is home to one of the best kept secrets in the world, a Union Pacific owned retreat named Selma Farms, and one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I've ever been. This 2500 acre facility is located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and is fully staffed 365 days a year. The UP uses this retreat to wine and dine their special customers. It is very exclusive to get an invitation and we are one of the first shortline railroads to get invited. Oh la la! This place was amazing, the "hotel" was an antebellum mansion designed to look like a castle, there was a pool house (and pool), a conference center, a clubhouse, stables, an 18 hole golf course, and a couple of ponds. Not too shabby. I don't want to bore everyone with the history (if you want more info just let me know-it's really neat). Our hosts did an excellent job of mixing business with pleasure and I got to do several firsts while there. Selma Castle:
This is me skeet-shooting. Big first-both shooting at moving targets and shooting a 12 gauge shotgun. (This would lead to bruise number 1 on my right shoulder. 12 gauges pack quite a punch!) But, I've got to tell you, there is something totally bad-ass and sexy about shooting a shotgun.
The next day following our meeting I opted to go horseback riding with a couple others. This would lead to bruise number 2 on my leg and bruise numbers 3-6 on my bottom. I was lucky enough to get the frisky horse who pounded the hell out of my haven't-ridden-a-horse-in-10-years butt. Just about the time we got used to each other the ride was over. We also went to a St. Louis Cardinals game that night at Busch Stadium. Absolutely wonderful venue. This is me and our other marketing guy, Rob. See the arch in the background? The game was a ton of fun, especially considering we got to use the UP's skybox. The folks at UP definitely know how to entertain! And did I mention that every room in Selma Farms was stocked with this? Every. room.
Our last day there we did some golfing on the UP's private golf course. I've decided to take up golfing; I've avoided it in the past because I thought it would be boring. I'm starting to rethink that and may give it a shot if I can convince Jeremy. And we did do some work at this work retreat-promise! Needless to say, I wanted to get home to Emma and Jeremy but I was loathe to leave my new found paradise! Best work trip EVER! I took tons of pictures but can't post them all her so I'll put them on facebook if you're interested.
Now, if you're keeping count of bruises I'm up to six so far. I got the remaining 16+ yesterday in a bike wreck that would make any Youtuber proud. Jeremy has been after me for a long time to go mountain biking with him, so I finally gave in yesterday and got my mom to watch Emma. We went with two other guys from work, and one of them let me use his wife's bike since I didn't have my own. I was doing pretty good, holding my own, and actually enjoying myself until "the incident." Keep in mind I was not familiar with this bike and hadn't actually ridden a bike probably since I was 16, but there I was racing down an incline at about 25 mph when my front wheel simultaneously catches a hole followed by a tree root. Next thing you know I'm flying over the handlebars, then the bike flies over me and I go headfirst into some nasty rocks. I completely trashed the helmet I was wearing, tore up my shoulder and hip pretty bad, and accumulated bruises 7-22+. It was not pretty. Jeremy and the others were ahead and didn't see what happened but as luck would have it I did this in front of around 15 other people. Super. I have to admit though that I'm glad they were there. I was stunned for a while from the blow to my head and couldn't get up for the longest time without feeling dizzy or nauseous. 3 of the guys ran over to help me while someone tried to track Jeremy and the others down. Needless to say that ended my biking for the day. Here are some shots of my helmet, shoulder, and hip (the angles are a little funny b/c I was taking the pics with my camera using my right hand). The majority of my injuries are on the left side.
I will try mountain biking again, but I'm going to get some practice in before hitting the trail again! And yes, today I'm so sore it's unbelievable. My pride is badly bruised too because I can't even claim that I was doing some awesome jump or stunt when I wiped out- just going down a hill. Ugh! Perhaps golf would be a better bet for my new hobby . . .